I have never been one for prayer. I know i know; it's a staple of Christianity. But who wants to talk to the wall? And after going to Sunday School, Church, Christian school, Awana, youth group, and finally college-age classes i had had enough of Christianity. What's the point? It was like this picture i saw just a week ago on a church wall in Fowlerville where my band played. It was a picture of a pier going way out into the water; the water all around it was stormy, dark, and fearful. In the water were people - people gasping for air, crying out for someone to save them, and drowning. On the pier were people in suits talking to each other, sitting in circles reading the Bible, old ladies having a bake sale, a choir in white robes, and a few kids in what appeared to be a Sunday school class. A the bottom right-hand corner of the picture it said in big red letters "What's wrong with this picture?". I guess that's how i felt about Christianity.
Recently though i have began to discover the difference between Christianity and following Jesus. One of the strangest differences i have noticed is that Christianity expects you to ask Jesus in your heart and believe, and then follow him. Well how the heck are you going to just up and beleive someone - trust them with your life - when you haven't followed him for a bit and know what he's really about? I wonder how many people out there that have 'asked Jesus in to their heart' actually believe...
I started praying again, but this time i took a friend's advice and didn't just pray for something one time and then move on. I prayed every day for the same thing. I even had what i said memorized in my head (Which let me point out is a lot different than the dinner prayer that gets repeated word for word every night with absolutely no thought behind it - pure ritual.) No; i meant every word with a desperate fervor, hoping that for once maybe something that i prayed about would actually happen.
I prayed for about a month, adding about 3 more requests on the way. And you know what? All of them happened. No joke. I was shocked out of my mind. To give you an idea of the kind of things i was praying for, here's one:
I prayed for a food processor for me to use at the Sanctuary. I've worked there for 3 years, and none have come through in the donations and i sure didn't want to spend money out of pocket for it. So prayed for a couple weeks straight for it. I told NO ONE about this request - not to test God, i just felt ridiculous asking people for a food processor. So one day i come home and there is an old '80's food processor sitting on the table. I asked my mom where it came from, and she said that she was helping to clean an elderly lady's house (she was moving to an assisted living center) and the lady told her she could have it since she wouldn't be needing it. My mom thought maybe i could use it at the Sanctuary and brought it home for me.
Now this request being granted involved God orchestrating 2 different people, other than myself, without either of them knowing about my desire. Three other requests like this happened soon after that also.
So you know what i did? I stopped praying. Not on purpose, mind you. I just started forgetting, or i wouldn't have time, or i slowly felt my belief that it was actually my prayers start to slip away. I hardly pray once a week now.
I know that's a really depressing ending for this journal entry, but that's where i am at right now... just following right now, trying to believe. Hopefully one day i'll get there and not turn back, but for right now - it's going to take a while.